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Lincoln, Nebraska, Oct. 9, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $181 million in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states.

USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

 

   The Village of Elba, Nebraska will use a $580,000 loan to improve 13th Street, adding sidewalks, storm sewer inlets, curbs, gutters and concrete paving.  The street leads to a school that serves the 215 residents of Elba. Additional funding includes a $250,000 state Community Development Block Grant and $200,500 in applicant contributions

 

   “Infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity in small towns across our country,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to building prosperity in rural America through modern infrastructure.”

 

   The projects announced will help improve the quality of life for 1.1 million rural residents in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

 

   More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

 

   The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.

  

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.


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Valentine, NE -  Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) have arrested a Valentine man in connection with the shooting death of his wife on Monday, March 4.

NSP was initially called by the Valentine Police Department after they had responded to a shooting at 301 Edna Street in Valentine at approximately 7:00 p.m. The victim, Pamela Nickisch, 71, was found deceased. Her husband, Paul Nickisch, 70, and a juvenile grandson were also present at the residence.

Investigators have determined that Paul Nickisch shot Pamela Nickisch as a domestic violence situation escalated. He was arrested for murder and lodged in Cherry County Jail. A final determination on charges will be made by the Cherry County Attorney.

The Nebraska State Patrol, Valentine Police Department, Valentine Fire and Rescue, and Cherry County Attorney’s Office have all contributed to this investigation and response.


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MARCH 6, 2019 (VALENTINE, NEB.)  — Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) have arrested a Valentine man in connection with the shooting death of his wife on Monday, March 4.

NSP was initially called by the Valentine Police Department after they had responded to a shooting at 301 Edna Street in Valentine at approximately 7:00 p.m. The victim, Pamela Nickisch, 71, was found deceased. Her husband, Paul Nickisch, 70, and a juvenile grandson were also present at the residence.

Investigators have determined that Paul Nickisch shot Pamela Nickisch as a domestic violence situation escalated. He was arrested for murder and lodged in Cherry County Jail. A final determination on charges will be made by the Cherry County Attorney.

The Nebraska State Patrol, Valentine Police Department, Valentine Fire and Rescue, and Cherry County Attorney’s Office have all contributed to this investigation and response.


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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Officials have set a January moving day for veterans to move into the new Central Nebraska Veterans Home in Kearney.

Plans are for the 95 or so residents at the Grand Island Veterans Home to eat breakfast at their old home and lunch at their new home 34 miles west (55 kilometers) in Kearney on Jan. 16.

Officials say residents' families will help with the transition, as well as volunteers who have been training as "moving buddies." The residents will travel in buses and other vehicles, depending on the level of care they require.

The new, $89 million has six neighborhoods of sorts, which each feature three homes that can accommodate 12 to 15 veterans in private rooms.


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Mosquitos in Red Willow County have tested positive West Nile Virus (WNV) for the second time this summer according to Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department. This follows confirmed positive mosquitos found in Chase County two weeks ago.

 

“West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitos. It is important to continue prevention even during the cooler weather.” states Melissa Propp, RN, Surveillance Nurse at SWNPHD. “Use insect repellent which includes at least 30% DEET,” states Propp “DEET in repellent is the most effective prevention to getting bitten by a mosquito.”

 

Additional tips will help prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wear shoes, socks, long sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitos are most active.
  • Install/repair window and door screens.
  • Empty standing water from containers such as gutters, buckets, pool covers, tires.
  • Aerate ponds or stock them with fish.
  • Use larvicide such as mosquito dunks for water that cannot be drained

 

 

Mosquitos rest in dark, humid areas and typically lay their eggs near bodies of water. The use of larvicide to treat water is one method to reduce mosquitoes. Outdoor flying insect repellent may also be utilized to reduce the number of mosquitoes.

 

More information on West Nile Virus may be found at the web site www.swhealth.ne.gov. Or call the McCook office at 308-345-4223, Imperial office at 308-882-4269. Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department is located at 404 West 10th Street – one block north of Arby’s in McCook or 501 Broadway – south entrance in Imperial.

Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow counties. You may also follow SWNPHD on Facebook and Twitter.


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WESTCO and the Land O’ Lakes Foundation continued their support of local food pantries with a $10,000 donation to Panhandle Love in Action on Wednesday. The contribution was made possible by the Land O’ Lakes Foundation’s Member Coop Match Program, Feeding Our Communities, which focuses specifically on helping alleviate hunger in rural America.


The Member Co-op Match Program matches dollar-for-dollar the cash donation of member cooperatives, thus doubling the funds available for hometown projects and programs.


“As a part of our commitment to rural communities where Land O’Lakes, Inc. members, employees and facilities are located, Land O’Lakes Foundation is pleased to match donations by member cooperatives which help enhance the quality of life in their local communities,” said Lydia Botham, Executive Director for the Land O’Lakes Foundation.


WESTCO General Manager David Briggs added, “WESTCO is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Land O’ Lakes once again in supporting local food pantries. Panhandle Love in Action continues to provide a vital service year-round and we hope these funds can help them with their goals of alleviating hunger in the community.”



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DECEMBER 18, 2018 (SCOTTSBLUFF, NEB.)  — Investigators with the WING (Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group) Task Force have arrested two men and broken up a marijuana growing operation in Scotts Bluff County.

In the morning hours of Tuesday, December 18, the WING Task Force, with assistance from the Nebraska State Patrol, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office, and the 1057 Military Police Unit, served a search warrant on a residence at 160283 CR 20, outside of Gering.

During the search, investigators found approximately 75 marijuana plants hidden behind a false wall in a potato cellar. Investigators also discovered a butane hash oil extraction lab, nine firearms, and a small amount of methamphetamine.

Robert Newton, 46, and William Burkhardt, 50, both of Gering, were arrested for cultivating marijuana, manufacturing hash, and possession of a controlled substance. Both men were lodged in Scotts Bluff County Jail. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be added.

The WING Task Force is made up of investigators from the sheriff’s offices and police departments that cover the eleven counties of the Nebraska panhandle and the Nebraska State Patrol.


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Heavy snowfall and blizzard like conditions are being reported as a powerful winter storm moves through the middle of Nebraska.
The Nebraska Transportation Department closed Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 30 in both directions Thursday, from Grand Island to North Platte. It cited whiteout and other weather factors.
The National Weather Service has posted blizzard or winter storm warnings for several counties. Most of the warnings are scheduled to expire by Friday morning.
Six inches (15 centimeters) of snow was reported in Cozad and Elwood.

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Scottsbluff, Nebraska -1/19/19- West Nebraska Arts Center (WNAC) has been awarded a grant of $4,000.00 by the Oregon Trail Community Foundation (OTCF) to purchase new sound systems for both of our galleries, the Main gallery and our Bronson gallery.


West Nebraska Arts Center Executive Director, Michele Denon, said, “We are thrilled to be supported by  such a wonderful organization. OTCF and their financial leadership are an important part of the upkeep, as well as the progress, at WNAC, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support.” The sound systems have already helped to round out the beautiful environment we have here at the West Nebraska Arts Center.  Music is an integral part of the atmosphere in the galleries and sets the tone for viewing and enjoying the artwork. Our wine tasting fundraiser last weekend was enhanced by the opportunity to play 60’s music to go along with our Creative Juices theme. The sound systems we had previously were very outdated, the one from the Bronson gallery had and 8 track in it.  


“The West Nebraska Arts Center building sits on the site of the old Campbellite Church.  The land was sold to the City Library in 1921 by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. The Scottsbluff Carnegie Library was constructed with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.  The building, a representation of the neo-classical revival style, has a unique personality, charm, and special features that make it a treasure in our community. We feel strongly that it is our responsibility to care for her. This grant will help us in further enhance the overall experience of our Art Shows as well as Art Classes and the Fundraisers we hold.  We are appreciative of organizations such as The Oregon Trail Community Foundation, who share our vision of ensuring that WNAC is a place our community can continue to enjoy for many years to come,” Denton said.


Located on the corner of 18th Street and 1st Avenue just one block from downtown Scottsbluff, WNAC is a beautiful space with two galleries that now have 18 exhibits each year featuring local, national, and international artists representing a wide variety of visual art.  Each exhibit has an opening reception providing visitors with the opportunity to meet the artist(s), see the show, and enjoy music, food and refreshments. Gallery exhibits and receptions are always FREE and open to everyone.



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